History of Western Music, 1600–1800 (MUSC 222)

Andrew A. Cashner, PhD

Spring 2022, University of Rochester, Satz Dept. of Music


Course Information


This course provides music majors the opportunity to build a conceptual framework for understanding how and why people in Europe and European colonies made music between about 1600 and 1800 and what it meant to them. It equips students to think historically about music (understanding change over time in forms, practices, and concepts of music), and to think musically about history (understanding lived experience in the past through music). The course highlights the interconnection between the sound of music and the social structures that music shapes and is shaped by.

The class emphasizes, on the one hand, how European people used music to build a “Western” world, which included developing a canon of musical “classics”; and on the other hand, their exchanges with and impacts on indigenous peoples in different global locations. The course highlights the musical creativity of women, people of color, and lower-class people.

Students will gain detailed knowledge of musical repertoire from this period through close engagement with the sources, including transcription and performance; while developing critical thinking skills through research, writing, and oral presentation.

Materials and Resources

Required Texts

Learning Goals


(revised 2022/02/18)

Please see the more complete assignment requirements on Blackboard.


For each of the five roundtable sessions:

Short papers

Underrepresented Representative Presentation


(updated 2022/02/18)

15% Participation including roundtables
50% Roundtable briefings (10% each)
10% Analytical paper
10% Historical paper
15% Presentation

Grade Scale

Percent Letter
93–100 A
90–92 A-
87–89 B+
83–86 B
80–82 B-
77–79 C+
73–46 C
70–72 C-
67–69 D+
63–66 D
60–62 D-
0–59 E


Attendance, Participation, Teaching Modality

Due Dates and Late Assignments

Academic Honesty

Disability Accommodations

If you need a disability accommodation, please contact the Disability Office and they will let me now how to accommodate you without specifying the nature of your disability.

Creating a Supportive Classroom Community

I need your help in creative a supportive community in our classroom. I want to build a space in which students feel safe enough to take the risks necessary to engage with new ideas and develop new skills. We must be careful to avoid any kind of bullying or harrassment; and we must cultivate respect, humility, and kindness. No point of view is out of bounds for discussion, as long as we can find a respectful and sensitive way to talk about it.

I will give you opportunities for feedback throughout the course and I would ask, please let me know if there is anything I can do (or anything I need to change) in order to accomplish these goals. Please be reflective about your own contributions to the classroom environment as well.